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| Home | News | Photo | Five Hundred Years of Belarusian Book Printing: Unique Museum in Polotsk

Unique museum in the hometown of Belarusian first printer Francysk Skaryna

Unique museum in the hometown of Belarusian first printer Francysk Skaryna
28 Feb 2017

The ancient Polotsk, Belarus’ literary capital 2017, is gearing up to host, for the third time, the famous holiday of national language, history and culture. The Belarusian Literature Day will highlight two dates: the 1155th anniversary of the city on the Western Dvina and 500th anniversary of national book printing.

The history of the Belarusian printed book, which dates back five centuries, is associated with the name of the native of the glorious city of Polotsk – Francysk Skaryna. In 1517 the famous humanist and educator opened a printing house in the Czech Prague and published Psalter in the old Belarusian using Cyrillic. It was the first printed Bible in East Slavic lands. Over the next two years, he translated and printed another 23 books of the Holy Scripture.

Belarus’s only museum of the Belarusian book printing shows the history of the book from handwritten scrolls to fashionable pocketbooks and also all phases of ancient book printing. It was inaugurated on 8 September 1990 in the run-up to the celebration of the 500 years of the birth of Francysk Skaryna in one of the historical places of Polotsk – the former brotherhood school of the Holy Theophany monastery.             

Today the Polotsk Museum spans 15 halls and boasts about 2,500 publications: handwritten, ancient and modern, including magazines and newspapers, postcards, flyers, calendars, booklets… Among them there are rarities, for example Didactic Gospel (1595), General Menaion (1628), and the original books by Simeon of Polotsk – The Rod of Governance, Testament and Heartfelt Vespers, which are the gem of the collection.

The museum invites its visitors to travel back in time and learn more about the history of Belarusian literature and book printing, writing materials and tools of the past centuries, and the production of manuscript books in 17 – 18th century print shops, visit an ancient scriptorium and the unique museum library of Symeon of Polotsk.

Enjoy a tour of the Museum of Belarusian Book Printing Museum in our photo story

The Museum of the Belarusian book printing in Polotsk
Belarusian Book Printing Museum in Polotsk
Tamara Dzhumantayeva, the director of the Polotsk National Historical and Cultural Museum Reserve
Unique museum in the hometown of Belarusian first printer Francysk Skaryna
Unique museum in the hometown of Belarusian first printer Francysk Skaryna
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